How to Draw the Human Skeleton

Drawing the human skeleton is an absolutely essential part of learning to draw human anatomy. The skeleton is literally the base upon which the rest of the human form is built. By learning to draw the human skeleton, you will be better able to master figure drawing. The human skeleton--and all the connections and joints--dictates exactly how a human moves, reacts and poses.

Things You'll Need

  • Paper
  • Pencil
  • Eraser


    • 1

      Begin by drawing the basic frame. Draw an oval for the head, a curved rectangular shape for the chest and "W" like shape for the hips. The arms and legs can be blocked out with simple lines. Add circles for the shoulders, elbows and knees. Add hands and feet with oblong oval shapes. Add the spine with a line between the chest and hips. Add the jaw with a rectangular shape attached to the bottom of the face.

    • 2

      Add details to the skeleton's frame. Draw a cross or "T" shape in the face to mark out here the eyes and nose will go. Add parallel lines around the neck bone and spine. Create guidelines for ribs with curved lines extending from the middle of the chest. Add a sternum with a long thin oval shape in the center of the chest. Create the bones for the arms and legs with lines around the guidelines that bow out at the top and the bottom. Draw a hole in the center of the hips.

    • 3

      Create more details on the frame. Add eye sockets with small circles, the nose cavity with an upside down "V" shape, and teeth with small squares in a line across the jaw. Add fingers and toe bones with small rectangles inside the feet and hands. Draw the neck and spine vertebrae with lines drawn across them. Add knees with small circles.

    • 4

      Erase all of the guidelines. Begin adding depth and shadow to the skeleton for a more realistic look. Darken under ribcage, inside the mouth, nose and eye sockets. Darken the tail bone in the middle of the hip bone. Add shading around the hip bone with a parallel line inside the hips and shading down to the center. Now, you have your own human skeleton drawing. You can use this to spook out your friends. More sensibly, use it as a basis for your anatomy and figure drawings.

Tips & Warnings

  • It would be very helpful to have a skeleton sketch nearby to reference as you follow the above steps. You can do a google search for many examples.
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  • Photo Credit skeleton image by Wingnut Designs from

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